Keeps You on Your Toes!

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Lauren has just moved across the country to get away from a haunting tragedy in her former school; with a desire for a fresh start conflicting with her traumatic experiences, she is shocked to find herself embroiled in a fresh mystery. Her soccer teammates loathe her for replacing their former star player, her mother is distracted with a new romance, her coach may be a creep, and her love interest may just be a murderer?! When a third classmate dies under mysterious circumstances, it's up to Lauren and her band of misfits-turned-friends to solve the mystery of Happy Valley High.

This book was a master-class in "show, don't tell," as author Trish Lundy dives right in, managing to avoid exposition in favor of action for 95% of the story. The fault lines in Lauren's relationships are apparent from the opening paragraphs, and the red herrings that occur are plausible instead of outlandish, leading readers to genuinely wonder about all the different suspects. Lauren and her friends also come across as typical high school teens, and the story rings true up until the final reveal.

I did take off a star for how the ending played out, as the motives of the villain end up being pretty thin, and for the fact that after favoring action over exposition for the majority of the novel, the author falls prey to the villain narrating their evil deeds during the climax. However, this was a fun and easy YA read, and will be perfect as a vacation read in the upcoming summer months!